| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 493, 4 February 2013
Welcome to this year's fifth issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The little-known UberStudent probably won't be on the radar of most users looking for a happy computing environment, but as the distribution is based on Ubuntu and offers an excellent collection of software designed for learning and teaching academic computing, chances are that it has started to find some niche among the student population. However, as Jesse Smith points out in today's feature article, the recently-released version 2.0 is actually an excellent all-round operating system for everyone, not just teachers, learners and undergraduates. Read below to find out more. In the news section, the OmniBoot compilation DVD arrives in version 1.0 with over 150 boot options and dozens of operating systems, and a note on an interesting trend among Linux distributions to replace the Oracle-controlled MySQL with a more open fork called MariaDB. Also in this issue, a detailed review of the brand-new Enlightenment 0.17 window manager, a link to an interesting article suggesting five alternatives to Ubuntu for the desktop, and the usual regular columns and DistroWatch database updates. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the January 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is MariaDB Foundation. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (25MB) and MP3 (44MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
A look at UberStudent 2.0
UberStudent is a Linux distribution which declares itself as being "Linux for learners". The project is based on Ubuntu with UberStudent 2.0 using the latest Ubuntu long-term support release as a base. Looking over the project's documentation we find UberStudent is designed with an eye toward education. The project is targeting people wishing to teach or learn academic computing. The project's website refers to the distribution as a learning platform, designed to help people become fluent in computer technology. There are several editions of the latest UberStudent release. The main edition comes with the Xfce desktop environment and other editions feature the LXDE and MATE desktops. Each edition is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. I opted to try the Xfce edition which can be downloaded as a 3.5 GB DVD images.
Booting from the UberStudent ISO we are brought to a boot menu which allows us to run the live desktop distribution on the disc or immediately launch the project's graphical installer. In practice I found selecting either option (live environment or installer) from the boot menu would bring me to the distribution's graphical login screen. There we can login with the username "uberstudent" and no password is required. The Xfce desktop has a pleasant, low-key style to it. The application menu sits at the top of the display with the system tray. The desktop features a mostly-black wallpaper and contains a few icons for opening a web browser and visiting the project's website and there is an icon for launching the installer. There's also an icon for browsing the local file system, but clicking this icon produces an error message indicating a missing component. Shortly after logging in a notification appears in the upper-right corner letting us know a drop-down virtual terminal is available and we can access it by pressing the F1 key.
One thing I found interesting about the layout of the Xfce desktop was the way the developers appear to have copied the GNOME 2 style of menus. Like GNOME 2, the Xfce desktop presented by UberStudent has three menu buttons at the top of the display. The first two menus, Applications and Places, let us browse available software and commonly accessed directories respectively. The third menu button, System, does not open a system administration menu as one would expect of GNOME. Instead, clicking the System button opens the Xfce control panel where we can make adjustments to the look and feel of our desktop environment. For some reason this aspect of the interface took me a while to get used to as whenever I wanted to adjust system settings or access the package manager I would instinctively click the System button and then have to close the control panel. The applications I really wanted were in the Application menu under the "System" category.
UberStudent 2.0 - the system installer
(full image size: 192kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
I won't waste much time covering the graphical system installer. UberStudent uses the Ubuntu installer and it has been discussed here many times. I found the installer worked really well, it takes little time to walk through the installation steps and I encountered no problems during the partitioning and configuration process. One minor point of note is that the installer requests we have a full 15GB of free space on the hard drive prior to beginning the install process. This is a rather large space requirement compared with other Linux distributions. As it turns out the distribution's system files take about 8GB of disk space when everything has been installed. The remaining 7 GB of the requirement are, I suppose, there to give us breathing room for swap space and personal files.
I ran UberStudent on my laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 4 GB of RAM, Intel video card, Intel wireless card) and in a VirtualBox virtual machine. In both cases the distribution worked well. Sound worked out of the box, my screen was set to its maximum resolution and it only took a few mouse clicks to connect to local wireless networks. Xfce performed very well in both environments and remained responsive at all times. The distribution uses more memory than I would normally except -- I found logging into Xfce would use approximately 240 MB of RAM.
UberStudent 2.0 - changing system settings
(full image size: 219kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
UberStudent comes with a lot of software, enough to keep me busy exploring for days. As suggested by the project's documentation many of these programs are related to education in one way or another. In some cases this means educational games, or specialized note taking applications. There is an app called "Top Shelf" which helps the user organize the files/projects they need to make priorities. There are a few programs for budgeting, a few e-book readers and a handful of programs to assist in publishing material. I won't go into the full list because there is just about everything except the kitchen sink included in the application menu. Along with the various education/work related programs we also find a fairly standard lineup of software including Firefox, LibreOffice, Xfce configuration tools and a pair of package managers. The Network Manager software is installed to help us get on-line and there are lots of little programs to help us edit text files, manage archives and play multimedia.
At install time I requested non-free items be included in the installation and so I had Flash support and a wide range of codecs for playing media files. While using UberStudent I found the application menu included both locally installed software and web apps. Unfortunately there often isn't a clear distinction made indicating which software is local and which programs are on-line. I'm hoping future versions of the distribution either separate the web apps from the local programs or put something in each program's description to let us know if it does not run locally. One surprise I found was that UberStudent, while apparently based on Ubuntu 12.04, comes with a more modern kernel than its parent. The Linux kernel which comes with UberStudent is version 3.5 as opposed to the base's 3.2 version. Another surprise I discovered was that UberStudent runs a web server by default. The server can be accessed though no pages are available to be viewed. The web service does not appear to serve any purpose (it doesn't provide documentation, for example) and I'm not sure why it is running on the default install.
UberStudent 2.0 - the application menu and sub-menus
(full image size: 294kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
The UberStudent distribution comes with two graphical package managers. The first is the venerable Synaptic package manager. It allows us to search for packages, to create complex batch jobs and it is both fast and reliable. Still, Synaptic can be a bit intimidating to newcomers so UberStudent offers a second package manager called Simple Software Centre. The Simple Software Centre certainly streamlines the process of adding and removing software. It has a modern, almost web-like interface. The application features three tabs, in the first we can browse into software categories to find packages in the repositories. Each package entry includes the software's name, a brief description and icon. The second tab is much the same, but shows only packages which are currently installed and may be removed. The third tab shows queued actions (installations or removals) which will be processed. Our interaction with the Simple Software Centre is quite limited as far as options are concerned, but the application works well and I found it would allow me to keep browsing packages while add/remove operations were in progress. I believe the Simple Software Centre only works with programs which feature graphical interfaces. This means manipulating library packages or command line programs requires we switch to Synaptic or APT command line tools.
UberStudent 2.0 - graphical package managers
(full image size: 197kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
While I was using UberStudent I didn't see any notifications signalling updated packages in the repositories. Checking manually, either on the command line or through the simple update manager, revealed a supply of security updates and I believe all of these updates are supplied by the Ubuntu repositories. The day I installed UberStudent I found 123 updates waiting to be installed, the total download size for these was approximately 90MB. Considering the large amount of software included on the UberStudent DVD and the pace of upstream patching I strongly suspect UberStudent releases ISO images which have more up to date packages than its parent distribution. I see this as a welcome feature as it saves the user from downloading massive amounts of security updates immediately following the initial install.
When I first started looking at UberStudent I noticed there was a lot of talk about being focused on education and making someone fluent in the ways of computers, but there didn't seem to be a lot of detail on the project's website as to how or why UberStudent would be the best option for students and professors. To be honest, after using UberStudent for a while I'm still not entirely sure. Yes, UberStudent comes with a good deal of software and some of it falls under the category of education (note taking, finance, project tracking) so it is certainly useful. There are a lot of applications included and many of them are good tools. Where I feel UberStudent may not live up to its goals is that it does not appear to teach the user. The project's website and the slide show which runs during the installation process talk of making the user fluent in the realm of computers and I was expecting tutorials or manuals -- some form of hand holding. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, perhaps a requirement to do a lot of configuration manually as we experience with Slackware or the BSDs.
In fact neither approach is taken. Everything is nicely set up for us. Lots of software is installed, multimedia codecs are all available out of the box, Flash is provided for us and we are given an easy to use package manager. The interface is light, fast, intuitive and stays out of the way. All of this made for an experience which was less educational and more, well, boring. Now, I say "boring" in a positive sense. UberStudent is boring on the desktop the same way Red Hat is boring on servers, we want it that way. There are no surprises, no missteps, the user probably won't have to install or configure anything, they can just plug it in and expect it to work. Since UberStudent is based on Ubuntu's latest long-term support release we can expect UberStudent to "just work" for a good long while. My overall impression of the distribution is UberStudent may or may not be helpful to students, but it will almost certainly appeal to desktop users who want a fast operating system that comes with everything and the kitchen sink pre-installed. It's a good install-and-forget distribution for desktop users.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
OmniBoot 1.0 "compilation" DVDs, five Ubuntu alternatives, MariaDB replaces MySQL in Fedora and openSUSE
Don Manuel, the ever so active developer of OmniBoot, has some great news for us - the release of version 1.0. OmniBoot is by far the most comprehensive "compilation" CD/DVD offering a large number of Linux distributions, useful utilities and even some BSD-based operating systems, all available for selection from the initial boot menu. And the list of operating systems is really long; depending on the edition, OmniBoot 1.0 provides Debian GNU/Linux 6.0.6 live with LXDE, Linux Mint 14.1 "Cinnamon" edition, Fedora 18 "Xfce", Ubuntu 12.10 with GNOME, KNOPPIX 7.0.5 with LXDE, SLAX 7.0.4 with KDE, NAS4Free, m0n0wall, Parted Magic, SystemRescueCd, Puppy Linux "Precise" edition, Clonezilla Live, SliTaz GNU/Linux and a number of other small distributions. Containing no fewer than 157 boot options, OmniBoot 1.0 has to be the most versatile Linux/BSD DVD available today and it should be an integral part of any system administrator's or Linux enthusiast's toolkit. Visit the project's home page for a complete list of all boot options, distributions, tools and utilities available on the DVD. For downloads the SourceForge repository gives a full listing, with additional information can be found on OmniBoot's download page.
* * * * *
There is little doubt that the arrival of Ubuntu on the Linux distro scene has made open-source computing much more accessible to a large number of non-technical people. Nevertheless, it isn't to everybody's taste. If you are looking for an Ubuntu-like alternative that springs from the same roots but has its own distinct foliage and flowering, this ExtremeTech's article (by Tim Verry) entitled "5 Ubuntu alternatives worth checking out" offers some ideas: "Linux is a free and open-source desktop operating system, and is recognized as the third most popular desktop operating system in the world. Unlike OS X or Windows, there are many different versions -- called distributions (or distros) -- that all fall under the 'Linux' umbrella. Among the many flavors of Linux, the Debian-based Ubuntu is the distro that tends to receive the majority of mainstream attention. Interestingly, according to the ever-popular DistroWatch, much as Ubuntu has surpassed Debian in popularity, Ubuntu has been overthrown by its own forked distribution: Linux Mint." Besides Linux Mint, the author also looks at BackBox Linux, Bio-Linux, Pinguy OS and Poseidon Linux.
* * * * *
Finally, a note on a rather interesting trend. It seems that the venerable MySQL, which probably handles more data on the world wide web than any other database, is currently going the way of OpenOffice.org (which was recently removed from most Linux distributions and substituted with LibreOffice) and being replaced by a fork called MariaDB. As was the case with OO.o, the reason is largely the same - the mistrust many open-source developers harness towards Oracle which now controls the development of MySQL. The Fedora wiki page explains the reasons behind the potential move: "The original company behind MySQL, MySQL AB, was bought out by Sun which was then bought by Oracle. Recent changes made by Oracle indicate they are moving the MySQL project to be more closed. They are no longer publishing any useful information about security issues (CVEs), and they are not providing complete regression tests any more, and a very large fraction of the MySQL bug database is now not public. MariaDB, which was founded by some of the original MySQL developers, has a more open-source attitude and an active community. We have found them to be much easier to work with, especially in regards to security matters." Besides Fedora, Mageia has already replaced MySQL with MariaDB in their most recent release, while openSUSE has also indicated its intention to switch.
|Desktop Reviews (by Jesse Smith)
First look at Enlightenment 0.17
Back in December I wrote about my experiences from a trial where I ran the Unity desktop on my main machine for a month. Some readers e-mailed and asked if I would perform similar experiments with the GNOME Shell or Enlightenment environments. After putting the question of which of these two interfaces should be reviewed to a vote the clear winner was Enlightenment. The Enlightenment window manager (and its accompanying tools) has been around for quite some time, the project released version 0.1 way back in 1997 and development has been slowly continuing since then. The Enlightenment project, sometimes referred to simply as "E" or "E17", is incredibly light; the graphical environment requires very little RAM and hard drive space. In fact, Enlightenment, once installed, occupied less than 20MB of disk space on my machine. Enlightenment is designed with the idea that everything should be configurable and fans of the project will be quick to point out how flexible it is. I can recall using Enlightenment only once before and it's been long enough since that experience I have no firm memories or impressions of my time with the project. Which I suppose is good, I went into my experiment without any feelings toward Enlightenment other than curiosity.
A quick side note before I get into my experiences with Enlightenment: While E17 began life as a window manager the project has grown a great deal, adding libraries, configuration tools and all of the components of a full featured desktop environment. For this reason at times I may, during the course of the following review, refer to Enlightenment as a window manager or a desktop environment. While window managers and desktop environments are two different technologies Enlightenment dances back and forth across that line, blurring the distinction.
The first time I logged into Enlightenment a graphical wizard appeared and walked me through a few initial configuration steps. I think E17 is the only desktop I have used which has an initial setup phase, so right away we are dealing with a unique experience. The wizard asks us which language we would like to use, then we are asked for our preferred profile. The profile deals with our screen's layout and size and there are a number of pre-configured options for various screen sizes and ratios. We are then asked what sort of application launcher style we want and, finally, if we would like to add any applications to the quick launch bar. I opted to skip this last step in order to get a vanilla experience. Once the configuration steps had been completed I was shown a plain desktop environment done mostly in shades of grey. Without any themes installed Enlightenment provides a very plain interface. There are a few icons in the upper-left corner of the display used to navigate the local file system. Down at the bottom of the screen I found a panel housing the task switcher, application menu and system tray. The background was a black & white checkered pattern. I soon found the application and settings menu could be brought up by clicking on any blank area of the desktop.
Enlightenment 0.17.0 - the first impressions
(full image size: 81kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
When I first begin using a new desktop there are two characteristics I look for. The first is how familiar or appealing the environment is -- does it have an inviting appearance, is it easy and intuitive to use right away, is it easy to find and access the features I want? The second attribute I consider important is how flexible the interface is -- will I be able to change the aspects of the desktop I do not like, how hard is it to find the proper configuration tool, are most details of the desktop fixed or can they be changed? Quite often a desktop environment will focus on one of these two characteristics. Unity and GNOME Shell tend toward one extreme with inflexible desktops which will hopefully be intuitive to use for a large number of people and, on the other end of the spectrum, we find projects like KDE where almost everything can be configured.
Enlightenment swings strongly in favour of configuration. In fact, the Enlightenment configuration panel is so extensive that it features a two-dimensional table to hold all of the categories of options. Across the top of the configuration window are categories of settings and, down the left hand side of the window are sub-categories. This gives us a table of general options, selecting any one of which will bring up a new window that lets us adjust specific interface settings. At first this massive collection of options may be overwhelming for newcomers, but once we get used to the organization it becomes very helpful. In fact, during my first day with Enlightenment I spent a couple of hours exploring all of the options, largely because so many of the desktop's defaults were not to my liking.
One of the first things I set out to change was that, by default, window focus followed the mouse pointer, a feature I find distracting, especially on laptops where mouse control with a touchpad can be chaotic. I also found that, by default, the keyboard's context menu key would bring up Enlightenment's application menu rather than the active window's context menu. Luckily changing these options was easy. Also, changing the size of the panel at the bottom of the display to make it more accessible was fairly straight forward. Another quirk I went looking to change was that application windows would only gain an entry on the task switcher when they were minimized and I prefer having all open windows available on the bottom panel. Early on I found changing which window currently had focus would cause a little animation in the application's title bar, this was a distraction for which I never did find an off button.
Another distraction I quickly disabled was the environment's behaviour of switching to a different workspace if my mouse got near the side of the screen. This characteristic made scrolling in full-screen windows virtually impossible as moving my mouse to the vertical scroll bar would instantly transfer me to another workspace. A final quirk I found was that Enlightenment places an application menu on the bottom panel, but with the default theme the menu's button was invisible. Once I knew where the menu's button was I could click it and see the menu's contents, but the button itself was hidden from sight. In fact, the environment's default colours made navigating interface widgets difficult as boxes and buttons tended to blur into the background.
Enlightenment 0.17.0 - using Enlightenment to seek enlightenment
(full image size: 293kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
The above characteristics of Enlightenment were configurable and so a matter of preference and, where I found annoyance, others likely see a welcome set of defaults. Each of us has their own taste and finding so many settings not matching my own taste encouraged me to explore one of Enlightenment's greatest strength: its flexibility. That being said, there were bugs which crept into the experience. For instance, when browsing the application menu the first few letters of each menu entry were invisible, making it hard to read the menu's contents. More importantly, Enlightenment crashed approximately once every twenty minutes, bringing my work to a halt eight times during the first three hours I was using it. There didn't appear to be any set pattern of events, no particular set of actions which triggered the crashes.
The following day, after a reboot of the machine, Enlightenment continued its frequent crashes and there didn't appear to be any setting I could adjust to quietly ignore the crashes and simply restart the environment. As these frequent crashes continued unabated I eventually gave up on using Enlightenment as my primary desktop on the third day of my trial. Now, I strongly suspect Enlightenment's bad behaviour on my machine is not normal, if it were the window manager wouldn't have such a large following of happy fans. Still, despite the fact I'm sure Enlightenment's behaviour on my machine was abnormal it nevertheless prevented me from continuing my experiment, a shame as I was just starting to get the highly flexible environment hammered into the shape I wanted.
Enlightenment 0.17.0 - the configuration panel
(full image size: 755kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
There isn't much I feel I can conclude from my brief time with Enlightenment, but I will share some lasting impressions which I hope others may find useful. The first is that E17 is amazingly light on its feet. Not only does it take up little room on the hard drive, but it does everything very quickly. Transitioning from the login screen to the Enlightenment interface takes virtually no time at all. Likewise, interacting with Enlightenment carries virtually no delays. We provide input and it responds, there isn't any hint of sluggishness. During my experiment with Enlightenment I found, despite its small size, it is very rich in features. In fact, most of my first afternoon with E17 was taken up with turning off features or trying to tone down the dynamic nature of the environment. Given the proper settings Enlightenment can provide a very rich environment.
The default colour scheme I found I didn't care for at all, it felt washed out. Had I continued to use Enlightenment, I would have dedicated time to downloading and trying alternative themes. I know the Bodhi distribution has been very successful due to its work with Enlightenment and Bodhi has a collection of stunningly beautiful themes for Enlightenment users. Earlier I mentioned the Enlightenment project was started back in the mid-90s and I occasionally felt as though aspects of that time were still in evidence in the present-day version of the desktop. The tiny analog clock widget, the layout of some of the configuration screens and the default appearance of windows gave me flashes of using 90s era desktops. This visual connection with the past struck me as standing out from other popular desktop environments which tend to reinvent themselves which each major increment of their version number.
Mostly, I concluded my time with Enlightenment with the impression it is quite different in style from other open source desktops. All desktops have their own personality, their own quirks. Still, the big desktops tend to borrow concepts from each other and some of them share common code. Enlightenment feels like a horse of a different colour, the developers appear to be marching to their own beat. This gives, I believe, Enlightenment a slightly alien feel, but it also means that users may find Enlightenment talking to them in ways other desktops cannot.
|Released Last Week
SparkyLinux 2.1 "Ultra"
Paweł Pijanowski has announced the release of SparkyLinux 2.1 "Ultra" edition, a Debian-based lightweight distribution with Openbox as the default desktop user interface: "SparkyLinux 2.1 'Ultra' edition has been released. The system is built on Debian 'Wheezy' and all packages have been synchronized with Debian's testing repositories as of 2013-01-23. It features a customized, ultra-light and fast Openbox desktop. What else? Fluxbox is out - I wasn't happy with it so I focus all my attention on Openbox; standard Openbox exit options changed to 'Shutdown', 'Reboot' and 'Log out'; added update-manager; the Polish repository mirror server replaced with the main Debian one; added a few new wallpapers; added to menu - run application, graphical two-panel file manager Tux Commander to have quick access to system files, added AppFinder...." Read the full release announcement for system requirements and a screenshot.
SparkyLinux 2.1 "Ultra" - a lightweight distribution with Openbox based on Debian's "testing" branch
(full image size: 547kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Parted Magic 2013_01_29
Patrick Verner has announced the release of Parted Magic 2013_01_29, a Linux live CD with specialist tools for disk management and data rescue tasks: "Parted Magic 2013_01_29. This version of Parted Magic brings all the X.Org packages up to date, adds Spanish language support, and a much improved shut-down menu. In the last release there were some issues with the X.Org Server 13 series. Some people were getting black screens. Reports have come in and most of this seems to be corrected by adjusting some udev rules, pulling a few X.Org drivers from git, and updating to the 3.7.5 Linux kernel. Lots of packages have been recompiled to add the Spanish locales. The syslinux menu has also been updated with Spanish language entries. Spanish is now very well supported in Parted Magic. Firefox is updated to the latest 18.0.1 release." See the project's news page to read the complete release announcement.
Newly updated builds of PCLinuxOS "KDE" and "KDE MiniME" editions, version 2013.02, have been released: "PCLinuxOS KDE and KDE-MiniME 2013.02 are now available for download. These are 32-bit quarterly update ISO images which can also be installed on 64-bit computers. With respect to the previous KDE editions these ISO images have the following changes and additions: KDE 4.9.5, Linux kernel 3.2.1; latest full set of NVIDIA drivers; Konsole with additional root profile. KDE 2013.02 has all the additions from MiniME above and was built to provide a general purpose KDE desktop computing environment. The DVD includes popular tools for office, audio, video, graphics, and Internet applications (LibreOffice, GIMP, Skype, TeamViewer, Dropbox, VirtualBox, etc.), as well as additional drivers and tools to set up your hardware." Read the release announcement for further details.
Linux Lite 1.0.4
Jerry Bezencon has announced the release of Linux Lite 1.0.4, an Ubuntu-based distribution with a customised Xfce desktop: "Linux Lite 1.0.4 final for 32-bit processors with PAE support has been released. If you already have the CVF version installed, there is no immediate need to install this final version, just keep updating via Install Updates on the Menu. The only change of note is the updating of the Help & Support manual. Changelog: all system software updated; Firefox 18.0, added new default theme and icon set; added Steam for Linux (requires NVIDIA driver 304.22 or higher or ATI experimental drivers); added keyboard shortcuts information to the Help & Support manual; added open USB storage device in file manager on insert; added two new right-click menu options, Task Manager and Screenshot; replaced PCManFM with Thunar...." Here is the full release announcement with several screenshots.
Linux Lite 1.0.4 - a lightweight distribution with Xfce based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
(full image size: 521kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
January 2013 DistroWatch.com donation: MariaDB|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the January 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is MariaDB, a community-developed branch of the MySQL relational database management system. It receives US$300.00 in cash.
MariaDB is a drop-in replacement for MySQL. While the project's website avoids the dreaded "fork" word, it's clear that the developers, led by MySQL founder Michael Widenius, created the "new" database from a MySQL 5.5 base. This was a result of MySQL falling into the hands of Oracle, a fact that has created uncertainty over the project's future as a well-maintained open-source software project. MariaDB has recently gained support from Wikipedia, as well as the Fedora and openSUSE distributions, both of which indicated their readiness to replace MySQL with MariaDB in their upcoming releases. For more information about MariaDB please visit the project's website and its Wikipedia page.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal and credit cards are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$34,285 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250), LFTP ($250), Remastersys ($300)
- 2013: MariaDB ($300)
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
- SprezzOS. SprezzOS is a Debian-based Linux distribution for people who enjoy experimentation, change and a deep understanding of their tools. SprezzOS is perfectly suitable as a first Linux or a quick VM install or the day-to-day workstation of a thirty-something hacker who just wants things to work, but from all of them it will require a willingness to reason out the choices they make, and perhaps recover from bad -- or catastrophic -- decisions.
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Maui. Maui is an innovative Linux distribution that specifically targets personal computing. Maui is a fast, efficient, simple to use, easy to learn and powerful system for computer users of all levels. Hawaii, the desktop environment, is a lightweight, coherent and fast desktop environment that relies on Qt 5, QtQuick and Wayland and is designed to offer the best UX for the device where it is running. Maui doesn't have the traditional packages, it offers an innovative update system with point-in-time recovery and lower bandwidth usage; applications are shipped as bundles (compressed images that don't need to be decompressed).
- MING OS. MING OS is an openSUSE-based Linux distribution. It comes with enhanced security technologies to prevent exploits of security holes and compromised systems and it also includes a powerful intrusion detection and protection engine.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 11 February 2013. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Issue 687 (2016-11-14): NAS4Free 10.3.0.3, Fedora gains MP3 playback, budgie-remix becomes Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu flavours compared, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 686 (2016-11-07): FreeBSD 11.0, rolling release trial #2, Debian announces supported architectures, Simplicity switching to antiX base, farewell to Mythbuntu|
|• Issue 685 (2016-10-31): elementary OS 0.4, SUSE gains ARM support, Mint improves language support, Dirty COW explained, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 684 (2016-10-24): Ubuntu 16.10, Linux popularity in different markets, Fedora runs on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu features live kernel patching|
|• Issue 683 (2016-10-17): Refracta 8.0, making packages for distributions, Alpine switches to LibreSSL, 386BSD website publishes classic code|
|• Issue 682 (2016-10-10): KDE neon 20160915, Android-x86 6.0, Fedora warns of update bug, HandyLinux drops English translation, LXQt benchmarks|
|• Issue 681 (2016-10-03): OpenBSD 6.0, DragonFly BSD to support LibreSSL in ports, systemd denial of service bug, upgraded Mintbox Mini|
|• Issue 680 (2016-09-26): Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0, blocking applications at the firewall, Lenovo controversy, Ubuntu running on the Nextcloud Box|
|• Issue 679 (2016-09-19): OpenMandriva 3.0, 32-bit vs 64-bit performance, openSUSE updates, KaOS unveils first run wizard|
|• Issue 678 (2016-09-12): Apricity 07.2016, Mageia adopts DNF, KDE neon to use Wayland, FreeBSD updates Linux compatibility, creating cron jobs|
|• Issue 677 (2016-09-05): Peppermint OS 7, Manjaro updates leadership, TrueOS becomes rolling release, organizing files, creating torrents|
|• Issue 676 (2016-08-29): Korora 24, Fedora 25 to use Wayland by default, Linux turns 25, PC-BSD becomes TrueOS, finding software licensing information|
|• Issue 675 (2016-08-22): Gentoo LiveDVD "Choice Edition", moreutils, Ubuntu improves terminal convergence, MATE packaged for Openindiana, FreeBSD improves video support|
|• Issue 674 (2016-08-15): Zenwalk Linux 8.0, Ubuntu phone follow-up, Lubuntu transitioning to LXQt, Steam running on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 673 (2016-08-03): noop linux and EasyNAS, Debian's GnuPG switch, Fedora "Flock", using "nice"|
|• Issue 672 (2016-08-01): Ubuntu Phone 15.04, Solus embraces rolling release model, interview with Jane Silber, FreeBSD Quarterly Report|
|• Issue 671 (2016-07-25): Slackware 14.2, Point Linux 3.2, OpenBSD disables usermount, KaOS releases significant changes, Fedora 22 reaches end of life.|
|• Issue 670 (2016-07-18): Linux Lite 3.0, Bodhi team plans 4.0.0, pfSense changes licensing, running software across distributions, Linux Mint upgrade path|
|• Issue 669 (2016-07-11): Linux Mint 18, proving a system is secure, LibreSSL in FreeBSD, Ubuntu plans phasing out 32-bit, pfSense status report|
|• Issue 668 (2016-07-04): Fedora 24, Linux Mint plans for 18.1, FreeBSD and DragonFly BSD improve their file systems, comparing Flatpak, Snap and AppImage|
|• Issue 667 (2016-06-27): GeckoLinux 421, Fedora supports Flatpak, Solus unveils new features, running GNU/Linux on tablets|
|• Issue 666 (2016-06-20): Comparing more live update methods, Ubuntu's snap packages, Antergos drops 32-bit media, GeckoLinux unveils Rolling edition, learning Linux resources|
|• Issue 665 (2016-06-13): BunsenLabs Linux Hydrogen, Fedora 24 delayed, NetBSD grows in size, Clonezilla questions|
|• Issue 664 (2016-06-06): Sabayon 16.05, Debian updates install media, the cost of free software, Qubes explains secure build process|
|• Issue 663 (2016-05-30): Comparing live update methods, Ubuntu MATE's progress, distros debate systemd change, DistroWatch turns 15|
|• Issue 662 (2016-05-23): Clonezilla Live, new Fedora community repository, DragonFlyBSD runs Wayland, a live edition of Slackware and kernel components|
|• Issue 661 (2016-05-16): FreeBSD 10.3, OpenMandriva adopts Clang, Debian adds ZFS packages, PCLinuxOS drops 32-bit and comparing CentOS with RHEL|
|• Issue 660 (2016-05-09): Ubuntu MATE 16.04, Mint's xapps, FreeBSD Quarterly Report, Debian updates 32-bit support, addressing GPL violations|
|• Issue 659 (2016-05-02): Ubuntu 16.04, compiling custom kernels, Cinnamon 3.0, Sabayon launches ARM build, Devuan ships Beta release|
|• Issue 658 (2016-04-25): Kali Linux 2016.1, elementary OS 0.3.2, Debian elects Project Leader, Fedora 24 feature preview, Nard reaches 1.0|
|• Issue 657 (2016-04-18): Redox, Linux Mint improves update manager, planned Fedora 24 features, Ubuntu 16.04 getting Snappy packages|
|• Issue 656 (2016-04-11): Qubes OS 3.1, Whonix offers bug bounties, Puppy's family tree, setting up disk partitions and running bash on Windows|
|• Issue 655 (2016-04-04): Parsix 8.5, Sabayon's Community repository, Red Hat offers free subscriptions, Ubuntu tablets, command line tips|
|• Issue 654 (2016-03-28): PCLinuxOS 2016.03, Using signatures to create a web of trust, Arch Linux rolls out Pacman update, GuixSD packages GNOME|
|• Issue 653 (2016-03-21): Antergos 2016.02.21, Debian prepares for election, a Unix-like OS written in Rust, watching Netflix on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 652 (2016-03-14): ReactOS 0.4.0, Debian swaps Iceweasel for Firefox, Fedora moving forward with Wayland, Verifying ISO files|
|• Issue 651 (2016-03-07): Korora 23, Linux Mint improves security, Ubuntu MATE on Raspberry Pi 3 computers, trying different file systems|
|• Issue 650 (2016-02-29): Haiku in 2016, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, 30 years of MINIX, Fedora plans Atomic Workstation|
|• Issue 649 (2016-02-22): Zorin OS 11, openSUSE launches new editions, Linux Mint website compromised, sandboxing applications using Firejail|
|• Issue 648 (2016-02-15): XStream Desktop 153, Raspbian unveils OpenGL feature, free hardware, Ikey Doherty talks desktop design|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Free Tech Guides
Management Aptitude Tests
This FREE 39-page eBook describes management aptitude tests including numerical, verbal, abstract and spatial reasoning tests. These tests often form part of the job selection process.
|Free Tech Guides
Introduction to nginx
This FREE 69-page eBook introduces you to the magic of nginx, an open-source HTTP and reverse proxy server, a mail proxy server, load balancer and HTTP cache.
|Free Tech Guides
NEW! Cloud Management and Security
FREE FOR LIMITED TIME! Written by an expert with over 15 years’ experience in the field, this FREE 239-page eBook establishes the foundations of Cloud computing, building an in-depth and diverse understanding of the technologies behind it.
Ubuntu Mini PC
Intel H87 with Intel Pentium Dual Core G3220 3.0Ghz CPU HDMI VGA Dual Display